With the Fontaines D.C. in London

Dublin’s Fontaines D.C. took the stage of the O2 Academy Brixton on Monday without fans attending at the award-winning 4,900-capacity venue. 

There were no bustling queues to get into the normally buzzing venue. No encores, no tall bloke standing in your way, no long-haired punks headbanging and no crowd surfing. 

Instead, their loyal audience were offered a rare chance to enjoy an intimate view of their favourite band from the comfort of their living rooms. 

Barely a year after the release of their hugely acclaimed debut album ‘Dogrel’, which earned a Mercury Prize nomination and Album of the Year 2019 at BBC Radio 6 Music, Dublin’s Fontaines D.C. released the follow-up album on July 31. 

The work could be easily described as a confident, patient and complex next step in their journey. 

The five-piece opted to play a gig in the empty Brixton Academy and chose it as the first stop of a potential virtual tour as it holds a unique value for them. It is the place where they played their biggest sold-out headline show to date. 

No one probably could have imagined that just a few hours later the band would earn their first Grammy nomination. 

Streaming the whole performance through the platform MelodyVR, they came out at 8:30 p.m. with ‘A Lucid Dream’ The song is clearly a standout track from the band’s second album ‘A Hero’s Death’.

Its urgent driving sound and the painted red sea of LED lights managed to quickly place the viewers in a familiar gloomy landscape.

The hypnotising ‘Televised Mind’ followed and proved to be the ideal second song of the show playlist. It instantly reminded fans how Grian Chatten’s voice can soothe in these uncertain times. 

The tune directed the camera at the deserted venue. How strange it looked yet new at the same time. The sonic manipulation continues as you hear the frontman singing ‘charisma is exquisite manipulation’ in the next ‘Chequeless Reckless’ from their debut album ‘Dogrel’. 

The work, which is a homage to Doggerel, a “working-class poetry”, feels more current than ever. The bandmates, who met while attending music college and bonded over a common love of poetry, seemed thirstier for this live performance. 

The goth sound of ‘Love is the Main Thing’ has the strength to break the internet, while ‘You Said’ undeniably calls to mind the likes of the Smiths, Joy Division, The Clash and The Rolling Stones. The song encapsulates a feeling similar to a whisper or worn-down voice at the centre of a vast glittering cathedral.

Their original fire seems undimmed with ‘Sha Sha Sha’. Like fainting figures pivoting and walking away, the band plays ‘A Hero’s Death’ with uncanny readiness and passion whispering ‘Life Ain’t Always Empty’. It is perhaps a potential reminder of some retrospective brilliance in the way life plays its cards.

What could be more gratifying than to hear that it will always be ‘Boys in the Better Land’, knowing it has a riff that can make an empty home explode? And at that moment, the fireworks were lit. 

The show today proved to have a superpower, one to save the life of every hero out there. 

Their fans, who were able to watch the gig through VR or via a number of angles and cameras, have shared their favourite moments during the live stream. 

The band have already scheduled their tour for 2021. 

Image: A Music Map.

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